Last Thursday was a significant day for me. It was the Orlando Jewish Community’s 4th Annual Men’s Night Out. You may be surprised that it was significant and that I would choose to highlight this and spend an entire Friday message talking about it. But that would only be if you weren’t in attendance.
The event, held at Congregation Ohev Shalom, has always been a fun evening. Good food, good people, and mostly funny comedian make it a nice night. Last year, it had to be virtual because of COVID and while the comedian was great, like most virtual events, it’s not the same as being in person. This year we were back together in person.
As I walked up to the event, the outside was filled with men talking, laughing, enjoying appetizers and the open bar.
I couldn’t help but break into a huge smile as I approached. This is what things are supposed to feel like. I saw some of the guys from my recent trip to Israel and we hugged and enjoyed each other’s company. People I didn’t even know a few weeks ago are now good friends. I saw people that I have spoken with and that I have zoomed with but not actually spent time within a year or longer. There was joy in the air.
When we went inside, we sat in smaller groups at big round tables to provide some social distancing, but the conversations were robust and fun. The room was buzzing with noise and people having fun. When dinner was served, we all enjoyed a delicious meal of Kosher Prime Rib and Beef Ribs. Talk about some delicious food! And plenty of it (thank you Allan Ginsburg for sponsoring the food!!!). When the comedian began we sat back and listened, laughed, and enjoyed. Not every joke was a hit but it was sure fun.
Not only did we get to enjoy being together again, see friends we may not have seen in a while, eat good food and listen to a comedian, we also got to support the Synagogues’ Men’s Clubs and the work they do to support our youth. What an amazing night. It’s hard to ask for more.
Thank you to the committee that worked so hard to make this special evening happen. Thank you to all the sponsors who made the event possible. Thank you to everybody who attended. This was community. This is what makes the Jewish community so special. For me, it was a wonderful evening and a true signal that perhaps we really are returning to the type of life we want to be able to have and the type of community we all love.
PS – EXCITING NEWS!!! The 2021 Orlando Jewish Community Study is about to be released. Please block out the evenings of Sunday, December 12th at The Roth Family JCC or Monday, December 13th at The Rosen JCC as Dr. Leonard Saxe and Dr. Matthew Boxer from the Cohen Center of Modern Judaism at Brandeis University will be presenting the results of the study to our community. You can attend in person or virtually. More information and registration information will be coming out next week. There is amazing information to be shared so I hope you will all attend.